Province Working to Close Gender Wage Gap

Written on behalf of Peter McSherry Law Office
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On the 30th anniversary of Ontario’s Pay Equity Act, the Minister of Labour recently announced the creation of a new working group as part of the province’s continuing efforts to close the still-existing gender wage gap and support higher participation of women in the workforce.

New Working Group

The new working group will meet regularly over the next year. The group includes 14 organizations and two community members from a cross-section of business, labour, human resources, and women’s advocacy, including:

  • Human Resources Professionals Association
  • Christian Labour Association of Canada Ontario
  • Catalyst Canada
  • Ontario Federation of Labour and its member unions
  • Toronto Board of Trade
  • Provincial Building Trades Council of Ontario
  • Equal Pay Coalition
  • Up with Women
  • Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Ontario
  • Provincial Network on Developmental Services
  • Ontario Chamber of Commerce
  • Women’s Executive Network
  • Service Employees International Union
  • Business and Professional Women’s Club Ontario

The group will provide feedback and suggestions on how the government can address the issues and initiatives previously identified in the province’s Gender Wage Gap Final Report, including:

  • A gender workplace analysis tool;
  • A social awareness strategy aimed at helping build understanding of the effects of gender bias, the gender wage gap, and the importance of closing that gap;
  • Review of pay equity legislation;
  • Shared parental leave.

The group is part of the province’s larger ongoing goal of closing the gender wage gap and improving the lives of women and families in Ontario. Other recent efforts include creating 100,000 new licensed child care spaces, ensuring that by 2019 40% of all appointments to provincial boards and agencies are women, and making workplaces, campuses, and communities safer through the Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan.

Some Statistics on the Gender Wage Gap in Ontario

Research has shown that workplaces that can establish gender equity are more likely to have a competitive advantage in attracting highly skilled workers, can reduce employee turnover, and generally perform better organizationally and financially.

In addition:

  • Per a 2016 analysis by Deloitte, closing the gender wage gap could boost Ontario’s GDP by 7.9% or more;
  • In 2005, RBC estimated that personal incomes in Canada would increase by $168 billion annually, if women had the same labour force opportunities as men;
  • In 2010, TD Economics found that raising women’s participation in paid work by just 0.1% could add 115,000 workers to Canada’s workforce;

Unfortunately, based on the most recent data gathered by Statistics Canada, Ontario’s gender wage gap ranges from 14-26%.

If you are an employee and have questions about your rights at work, including your right to equal pay,  contact Peter McSherry by phone at 519-821-5465 or by e-mail to schedule a consultation today. I can protect your rights, advocate for your best interests with your employer.